Greenpeace commends Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for pledging to increase climate assistance to Pacific nations, but says if Ardern is serious about tackling the issue, she must also put an end oil and gas exploration immediately.
Prime Minister Ardern, Climate Minister James Shaw, and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, are currently on a tour of the Pacific to meet the leaders of island communities on the frontline of climate change impacts.
Ardern has pledged millions of dollars in new aid funding to help Pacific communities recover from cyclone damage and prepare for the next storms.
Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says:
“New Zealand has a moral responsibility to provide climate assistance in the Pacific but we also have a responsibility to address the root cause of this crisis. Allowing oil and gas exploration to continue in New Zealand undermines the Prime Minister’s commitment.”
“Climate change is an injustice that disproportionately affects our neighbours and kin in the Pacific, who are among the least culpable for causing this crisis,” she says.
Cyclone Gita, which devastated Tonga and parts of Fiji before hitting New Zealand, was the most recent in a string of extreme weather to impact the Pacific.
Larsson says weather events like this will become more frequent and more extreme as climate change worsens.
“Climate science clearly shows that with increasing emissions, especially from from oil, gas, coal and agriculture, these storms will get more intense, more frequent and more damaging,” she says.
Last week was the anniversary of the Oxford Union debate, in which David Lange famously argued that nuclear weapons are morally indefensible.
“Jacinda Ardern rightly says that climate change is her nuclear free moment. Knowing all that we do about the key drivers of climate change, it is morally indefensible to continue searching for new fossil fuels in 2018,” Larsson says.
“We have the opportunity and moral responsibility to act on climate change, just as we did in 1985 when we stood up to the powerful US military on nuclear.”